It's a very common occurrence – you create a beautifully designed brochure or document for your work and then you have to share it with co-workers and collaborators from afar. At best your masterpiece be shared as a link on a website, but more often it gets compressed and e-mailed out as an attachment. It doesn't really has the same visual impact anymore, and you are lucky if anyone takes the time to look at it. Thankfully there are a growing number of solutions to make your work shine online.
The best site I have seen thus far is Issuu.com. Issuu is a great looking online publishing solution for everyone. Basic accounts are free and easy to setup (one click with Facebook connect). Even if you don't want to create an account you can browse all other public uploads, from magazines and newspapers and even self-published offerings.
Uploading is dead easy. Isssu accepts a variety of file formats - word docs, PDFs and even more advanced formats. When you are selecting your file, you are presented with a bunch of options. You can add a title, description and let Issuu know if you want your publication to appear with the other public documents on the site, or just be private. You can also let others download the original file from Issuu, a huge time saver if you are distributing to large groups.
Once your finished uploading, Issuu does a wonderful job of making your work look awesome. The end result is a slick, visually stunning product that looks like a magazine online. It loads fast and you can even read it full screen. You can also embed the document in your website or blog and it works on mobile devices as well. I had a look with my iPad and it looks great and the added swiping gestures are a nice touch.
Issuu also has another cool feature called “Smart Look”. Issuu can go into your previously existing website and automatically change all the documents into Issuu pulications. You do need to know a little web coding to get it working, but this is a huge feature instead of changing all of your already uploaded documents on your current site.
Another similar site is Scribd.com. While very similar in function, I found Scribd fell short ascetically. You can still upload and publish in a very similar fashion to Issuu, but where Issuu has more of a horizontal magazine feel, Scribd has more of a vertical website feel. Depending on the project, Scribd might actually work to your advantage.
Of course if you are looking to get your publication found online, uploading to both sites is also an option. Scribd also has a better social sharing feature, easily allowing viewers to stumble onto your work and then share it out via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Last but not least is the super simple SlideShare.net, whose tag line is simply “Present Yourself”. Designed to work more with powerpoint presentations, SlideShare is just as easy to use as the other sites I mentioned. In fact if you are uploading a powerpoint, this might be the better solution. I have used it in the past to circulate finished shows after presenting, instead of handing out notes.
The days when you have to send around large attachments of your publications are definitely at an end. Tools like the ones above let your work get shared to the people you need, as well as open up a new audience online.